Resident Return Visa – What does it mean?

Once you have a permanent visa, that it….right? Do as you please. Come and go. Permanent means permanent, doesn’t?

Not quite as simple as that.


When a partner visa has reached its permanent stage, ie. either a Subclass 100 (in the case of Subclass 309 holders) or a Subclass 801 (in the case of a Subclass 300 or 820 holder), yes indeed the visa holder may remain in Australia indefinitely.

And yes, as a permanent resident, you may travel in and out of Australia as many times as you want. However you may only do this up until 5 years from the grant of the permanent visa. If you wish to travel after this, you must apply for a RESIDENT RETURN VISA.

This is a visa valid for five years that allows multiple entry back and forth to Australia. If you don’t have this, you can’t return to Australia. You remain a permanent resident, but you can’t enter the country.

This isn’t an issue that affects every visa holder, and in fact most Down Under Visa clients with partner visas wouldn’t come across it at all because most will get Australian Citizenship as soon as they can. Of course this is the most sensible option. Aussie passport. You get to vote for our great politicians and other exciting things (?). More importantly, it means you really are permanent in Australia. You are of the same status as any other Aussie. So yes, of course you should do that by preference.

Philippines Citizens, be aware that you actually LOSE Philippines Citizenship when you are granted Australian Citizenship! However you can reacquire this by a very simple oath-taking ceremony at the Philippines Consulate or Embassy in Australia, or you can do it at the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines on your next trip after getting your Citizenship. Not difficult at all.

Why does this 5 year rule exist?

Why would they allow you unlimited travel for 5 years, and then not after that?

What they don’t want is people acquiring Aussie permanent resident status, and maintaining this whilst not maintaining much contact or dealings with the country. They don’t want someone getting their permanent visa, then leaving for 10 years, and then wanting to come back later when it suits them. They want those who benefit from permanent status in Australia to show some loyalty to the country in order to deserve it.

How do I get a Resident Return Visa?

Fairly simple as long as you qualify. You need to have lived for at least two years in Australia in the previous 5 years. If you haven’t, it’s not necessarily a “NO”, but it’s not so straightforward.


You need to show “substantial ties” to Australia. This could be:

  • Business ties
  • Cultural ties
  • Employment ties
  • Personal ties

I won’t go through and define all of these now, but it basically means if you have had a good reason to be outside Australia and you still have “ties” to Australia then we may apply for you on those grounds.

So please be aware of this. Sensibly, you should sort out your Citizenship as soon as you’re qualified.

Utang Na Loob – Debts and Honour
Philippines to Australia – Facebook Group for Australian Filipina couples